Trainz Community Express Archives

Hi everyone,

This Week's community express is a report of my visit yesterday to the recently opened Workshops Rail Museum out at Ipswich here in Queensland. The museum is a $20 million jointly funded initative between the Queensland Government and Queensland Rail and forms part of the Queensland Heritage Trails Network which showcases the State's cultural heritage attractions. This Rail Museum is certainly a stunning addition to Queensland's cultural heritage.

I arrived at the museum early in the afternoon together with my wife, Liz. We were greeted by the Director, Andrew Moritz and given a quick guided tour of the complex. Andrew pointed out the key attractions, including the areas where Trainz is on display and contributes to the interactive, multimedia attractions. He commented that the Trainz driving simulation has been a huge success since the opening of the museum last weekend, and that there is generally a queue of people waiting for their turn at the controls, more on this in a moment. Andrew then left us to wander around and take a few photos.

When you first arrive at the Museum the thing that strikes you is the share scale of the place - it is BIG! Or as the blurb on the front of the museum, newsletter ("Big Noise") says, it is "Big.Loud.Fun". A locomotive (Pompey, Engine 398) constructed by the North Ipswich Railway Workshops in 1904 holds pride of place at the entry area In fact, Queensland rail history began here at the North Ipswich rail yards 135 years ago. The Workshops is now the only Australian railyard dating back to the 1800s that is still in operation. Yes, that is correct this is not just a static, dead museum but a fully active, operational workshop where a talented team of craftspeople continue their trade of restoring, repairing and maintaining Queensland Rail's heritage rollingstock. Part of the museum's attractions includes a fascinating tour through the functioning workshop and is not to be missed.

The museum has so much historical background material and displays that it is staggering in both scale and scope. I found it too much to take in over the duration of my few hours there yesterday and I will definitely be making a return visit or two. State-of-the-art multimedia interactive displays contribute to unfolding the story of rail in Ipswich and Queensland, as well as providing a glimpse into the future with a simulated ride on Queensland's train of the future, the tilt train. We are proud that Trainz has made a significant contribution to this interactive experience that brings the rail museum to life. The Trainz Driver simulation in The Diesel Revolution area gives a whole new meaning to in-cab simulation, as you are literally in the cab of a Queensland Rail Locomotive, using the full range of levers to control the driving simulation on the screen that you face while seated at the driver's controls. The museum staff told me that this driving exhibition is proving to be a hugely popular attraction with people lined up over the weekends to have a go.

The museum of course includes a range of locomotives and rolling stock on display from the heritage fleet and the extensive Rail Historical centre collection. However, as Desmond Freeman, the exhibition designer, comments "we agreed from the outset that this was not to be simply another vast repository for retired rolling stock. Our museum design concept combined the magnificent Heritage Fleet with the stories of the workers and their families, of the place itself and of course the significance of rail to the development of the State and nation". The design team have certainly succeeded in this design goal. One of the first display areas you encounter provides a richly detailed look into the past of rail in the Ipswich area and the contribution that the Workshop made to the region. This includes a series of displays that provide an intimate account of the life experiences of some of the thousands of workers at the site. The Ipswich Railway Workshops history display is currently well supported by the Final Gauge photographic exhibition that will be running from 1 September 2002 to 2 February 2003. Final Gauge is a record of the history and culture in words and images of the Ipswich Railway workshops. The collection was put together by Robyn Buchanan and Lyle Radford back in 1995 at the time when the Workshops closure was announced.

Another display area, "Rail in Queensland" tells the history of rail in Queensland and gives you a strong sense of the impact and contribution that rail has made to the State. It is a magnificent tribute to the dedicated trades and crafts persons who have contributed to Queensland's transport infrastructure.

The museum also includes a rather large model rail layout based of course on Queensland. The "Rail Today" display area includes a series of monitors on which visitors can enjoy Trainz in driver mode with a simplified keypad controller. And, after getting a taste for Trainz they can then purchase a copy at the Museum Shop, which also has a range of beautifully crafted rail related products, including some that are produced on site.

I could go on and on about the fascinating visit but I will leave it to you to make your way out there and enjoy the museum. It is a trip well worth making if you are ever visiting the Brisbane-Ipswich region.

For those of you in the Brisbane area, there is a show on this weekend to be held at The Gap Uniting Church on Waterworks Road. It is held by the British Railway Modellers of Queensland and will assist The Cystic Fibrosis Association. Make sure you drop by and say g'day to the guys on the Trainz stand. A big thanks to Bruce Bowden for organising the demonstration of Trainz at the event.

Finally, we would like to send a big thanks to the Trainz Vikings for demonstrating Trains in Copenhagen at the Annual Danish Model Railroad Union Exhibition. From all reports the show was a huge success for Trainz thanks to community members, tom-sa, Condor9, Gregand, ZyryZ, yojimbo and LNH. For a shot of the guys at the show, visit the Trainz Viking style thread in the Trainz on the Road forum area.

Next week's Community Express will return to the usual format with a website feature, Download Station report and of course, Waffle of the week :)

Cheers,

--JB

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